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Great Performances: Il Postino From LA Opera

Airs Friday, November 25, 2011 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Placido Domingo as Pablo Neruda in “Il Postino From LA Opera.”

Acclaimed Mexican composer Daniel Catan's ("Rappaccini Daughter," "Florencia en el Amazonas," "Salsipuedes") has adapted the popular film "Il Postino" as an opera, which was premiered by LA Opera in October 2010.

Placido Domingo as Pablo Neruda and Charles Castronovo as Mario Ruoppolo in  “Il Postino From LA Opera.”
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Above: Placido Domingo as Pablo Neruda and Charles Castronovo as Mario Ruoppolo in “Il Postino From LA Opera.”

Rehearsal Photos

Get a behind-the-scenes look at rehearsing and performing "Il Postino" for the LA Opera. Photos by Robert Millard.

Interview with Daniel Catán

Composer Daniel Catán speaks to Brian Lauritzen about his fourth opera, "Il Postino," which has its world premiere at LA Opera, the poetry of Pablo Neruda, and why he makes his home in Los Angeles. Listen now

Based on that Academy Award-winning 1994 Italian film that became a surprise hit with audiences around the world, and also on the 1985 novel Ardiente Paciencia by Antonio Skármeta, "Il Postino" tells the story of a shy young postman in a tiny Italian fishing village, who discovers the courage to pursue his dreams through his daily deliveries to his only customer, the esteemed Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, played by Plácido Domingo.

The other leading roles will be performed by tenor Charles Castronovo in the titular role of Mario Ruoppolo and soprano Amanda Squitieri as the beautiful café waitress Beatrice Russo, the object of Mario’s romantic ardor.

Other performers include soprano Cristina Gallardo-Domâs as the poet’s wife Matilde Neruda, baritone Vladimir Chernov as the postmaster Giorgio and mezzo-soprano Nancy Fabiola Herrera as Donna Rosa, Beatrice’s aunt.

Grant Gershon, LA Opera’s chorus master and associate conductor, conducts this production which was directed by Ron Daniels, with scenery and costumes designed by Riccardo Hernandez, projections designed by Philip Bussmann and lighting designed by Jennifer Tipton. The choreographer is David Bridel.

The opera, sung in Spanish, was performed in September and October of 2010 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Multiple Grammy Award-winning singer Linda Ronstadt hosts.

“I am very excited to participate in the world premiere of an opera by one of today’s most important composers,” said tenor Plácido Domingo, LA Opera’s Eli and Edythe Broad General Director, when the opera premiered last fall. “Daniel Catán’s operas have been very popular throughout the United States and elsewhere, and his "Florencia en el Amazonas" was a great success at LA Opera in 1997. For several years, he and I had wanted to collaborate on a new work. When he told me that he was working on an operatic adaptation of "Il Postino," I immediately felt that Pablo Neruda was a role that I very much wanted to bring to life.”

GREAT PERFORMANCES "Il Postino From LA Opera" airs as part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival. GREAT PERFORMANCES is on Facebook.

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Preview: Great Performances: Il Postino From LA Opera

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Il Postino: Dress Rehearsal

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Above: Take a look behind the curtain of Daniel Catan's opera in this dress rehearsal and interview with composer Catan and LA Opera Senior VP Christopher Koelsh as they discuss the differences between the opera, the movie, and the book. "Il Postino from LA Opera" starring Placido Domingo airs on Friday, November 25, 2011 at 9 p.m., as part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival.

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Il Postino: First Musical Rehearsal

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Above: See one of the first music rehearsals with the original cast of this new opera, including Cristina Gallardo-Domas rehearsing one of her solos.

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